I have an online business.
When I try to explain to people that aren’t in the online business world what that means exactly, their eyes start to get all squinty and their head tilts to one side.
I know that look.
They might not be saying it out loud, but their face is saying, “That doesn’t make sense!”
Or maybe it’s, “How do YOU know how to do that?”
Or perhaps it might even be, “That sounds like a scam”.
I understand. It’s not something a lot of people really think about, although in reality, they are interacting with the online business ideas of people just like me all the time.
Probably every single day.
9 Online Business Ideas That Anyone Can Be Succesful At
There is an endless list of online business ideas. We’re going to focus on some of the best online business opportunities for beginners.
These are businesses you can start in 2020 that won’t require much (if any) initial investment and nothing more than skills you probably already have.
There are untold numbers of people, just like you, who have started online businesses just like the ones you’ll see below.
They aren’t smarter than you, they aren’t more ambitious. They don’t work harder than you can.
They just decided to start a business and so they did.
#1 Virtual Assistant
You know that Admin at that one job you had who kept everybody on track, did all of the stuff no one else had the time or patience for? And had a candy dish on her desk?
That’s what a Virtual Assistant is except minus the candy dish. Sometimes they do multiple types of tasks for their client (or clients!) and sometimes they are specialized in one particular task, like creating and scheduling social media posts.
Other tasks might include data entry, calendar management, or bookkeeping. There isn’t really a one size fits all job description for what a Virtual Assistant does. The duties will vary depending on the client.
“Blogger” is the one you usually get the side-eye about if you tell someone that’s what your online business is.
It makes sense.
Everyone reads blogs, but it’s not always clear how a Blogger makes money. And that is merited because Blogger is a term that a lot of different Online Business owners get lumped into.
For the sake of clarity, we’re going to consider a “Blogger” someone who creates original content for their own website and earns money mainly through Ad revenue and some affiliate sales (that’s when you recommend a product and if the person reading the recommendation clicks your link and buys the product, you get a small commission).
Bloggers generally spend their days creating content and marketing that content on social platforms in order to drive traffic to their websites. The more traffic they get, the more eyeballs on the ads they have placed, which (usually) means they earn more money.
It is a nice, comfortable way to start an online business. It’s not ideal because you don’t have a lot of control over what you earn from those ads, but it’s often the first foray into Online Business for lots of people.
If you want to learn more about Blogging and how you can start a blog that DOES give you more control over your income, you should check out our free Blog Simple Guide.
#3 Affiliate Marketer
We mentioned Affiliate Marketing in the blogging section. There’s a big difference, however, between being a “Blogger” and being an “Affiliate Marketer”.
Affiliate Marketers focus solely on capturing people who are interested in a particle product or in a particular topic that happens to have several products that a reader could buy.
So for example, maybe you decided to become an Affiliate Marketer for a DJ Equipment. You could create a site with posts all related to DJ Equipment.
You will need to become very skilled at Search Engine Optimization and link building, but that is something anyone can learn if you put in the time and effort.
You will also want to pick a topic that will hold your interest as you write article after article on every aspect of that topic. Or you just need to be willing to continue to write article after article even after you’ve long grown bored of it.
There are a couple of ways of teaching online, but here I’m talking about a traditional “Teacher”. For children, mainly.
It’s common for online teachers to be teaching English to speakers of other languages.
My friend Alli teaches with Outschool. She teaches online from her home (or wherever she might be traveling to!). There are no teaching credentials required and you can teach subjects that you choose.
For example, Beginners Piano or Expanding Vocabulary for Teens or How to Make Awesome Animated Movies.
If you are a talented artist or crafter, there are lots of opportunties to sell your work online.
The most common place to sell is Etsy. Etsy is a wonderful online shop filled with unique finds from different artists and crafters. It’s sort of like a really good Craft Fair, but online and seemingly never ending.
There is a LOT on Etsy. So it can be difficult to get your products seen, but a little bit of keyword knowledge will help.
Some things to consider with an online business like an Etsy shop are the cost and responsibility of packaging and shipping physical items if that’s what you create.
Digital downloads are very popular on Etsy, so if that’s your thing, then you bypass the hassle of packaging and shipping.
You know the phrase Patron of the Arts? That’s the idea of Patreon.
You create content that people love enough to want to sponsor in some way. Usually you create different levels of membership and the more your fans are willing to pay, the more access to the content you create they get.
Patreon is very popular with writers, artists, Youtubers and musicians.
Setting up your Patreon is easy. Creating awesome content and then finding people that want to pay for the exclusive content that you are offering is a little harder.
#7 Course Creator
Here’s a favorite online business of the Pocket Business team. Course Creator.
You might be wondering how this is different than “Teacher”. Well, it’s not a lot different, actually, except for the content of the course.
An online course creator creates a course based on a skill that they have that other people are interested in learning. This can be nearly anything.
If people are willing to pay money to improve themselves in the skill that you have to teach them, then you can create a course around that skill.
No joke. People buy all sorts of courses. From How to Play the Piano to How to Decorate Cupcakes and even How to Stop Snoring.
If you think that you don’t have a skill to teach someone else, I would be willing to bet you are wrong. And if you REALLY don’t have a skill to teach someone, you can always learn one.
Creating the course is, of course, just one piece of an online business. You have to market it and sell it, but Course Creation is a wonderful, stable online business that pretty much anyone can start.
This is the type of online business idea we suggest for our Pocket Business members. If you’d like to learn more about this type of business, you can go through our Pocket Business Handbook.
Coaching is not too far from Course Creator. Often, Course Creators will also offer Coaching services.
Coaches help their clients to get from Point A to Point B. If you wanted to create an online business, you could hire me as your coach and I could work one on one with you to do that.
But it doesn’t have to be an Online Business Coach. You could coach someone to their fitness goals. There are lots and lots of Personal Development coaches.
Setting up a coaching business isn’t difficult, finding clients to get started with can be, but a little bit of marketing effort goes a long way.
Coaching is one of the more time consuming of these online business ideas. You will likely want to have multiple clients and that means juggling multiple projects and working one on one with multiple people, separately.
Coaches are usually paid four figures or more for their programs, so there are high expectations for results.
Youtube is a wonder. There is something for everyone on Youtube.
What is so wonderful about Youtube is that it has become an amazing tool for learning. And entertaiment. And you can make money with both.
There are a few ways to make money from your Youtube channel.
You can monetize a Youtube channel with Ads and affiliate sales, similar to a blog. This has the same downsides as a Blog with ads.
You don’t have a lot of control over your income and, well, your awesome videos are disrupted by ads.
Often Youtubers will use Patreon in conjuction with their channels to offer exclusive content for their followers who want to pay for it.
Or you can use Youtube as the marketing arm for your course or service.
We recommend anyone who starts an online business should consider having a Youtube channel as part of it. Video creates a more instant bond with your audience.
They can easily watch your growth if they just click back through old videos, which isn’t as easily done with a blog.
It can be intimidating to start making videos, but like anything else, with practice you get better and start to feel more comfortable.
What’s great about Youtube is you can literally start with your iPhone, computer and some decent lighting. You don’t need more than that to get started.
Why Would You Want to Start An Online Business?
You might have noticed that none of these online business ideas are easy. Or quick fixes for when you are short on cash.
So why would you want to go through the trouble of building your online business?
Well first of all, if you do things right, you can make good money. We believe that with the right resources, you can make 6 figures and beyond within 18 months.
But it’s more than just money. The premise behind every single one of these online business ideas is that you are helping people improve their lives in some way.
Whatever niche you choose for your business, there are people that are struggling with problems that you can help them with. If you are just a few steps ahead of them on the journey, then they will see you as a guide who can help them along the way.
It’s a great feeling to earn money while helping people in a very clear way. You have direct contact with your audience and can see how the things you create (blog posts, courses, emails, etc) are helping them.
Online business also means you can work from pretty much wherever you can get on Wifi, too.
I wake up every day excited to start work and see how people are progressing. I used to work a regular 9-5 type of job and never felt that. I always felt I was being pulled away from what I really wanted to be doing.
It’s not like that anymore. I am passionate about my work and I am happy to do it and all from the comfort of my own home. I have great flexibility with my time, too.
Is An Online Business for You?
Think about it. Maybe take another look through this list, or better yet, learn more with the Pocket Business Handbook.
But don’t listen to that voice in your head that is telling you this isn’t for you. It is for anyone. You just have to decide to do it and then start.